faulty parallelism

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If a quote is brought up as a faulty parallelism should it be changed?

See example:

If we recognize our abilities, are willing to learn and to use what we know in helping others, we will always have a place in the world."
asked Dec 09 '13 at 16:21 Bronte Tremblay New member

2 answers


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You should never change a quote. If a quote has an error, you can identify the error with [sic].

Example:  He said he never done [sic] it.  'Done' is the wrong verb form, and [sic] lets the reader know the error is in the original quote.

 

Your example sentence doesn't have a parallel error, however.  'Willing' is working on both 'to learn' and 'to use'.  The comma after 'abilities' is technically wrong, but not egregiously so. 

 

If we recognize our abilities, are willing to learn and to use what we know in helping others, we will always have a place in the world.

link comment answered Dec 09 '13 at 17:09 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow
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I think the sentence could have a parallelism problem.  It seems that the beginning of the sentence is listing three things that will assure that we have a place in the world: we recognize our abilities, we are willing to learn, we use what we know to help others.  

 

If this were not a quote, it would be written:
If we recognize our abilities, are willing to learn, and use what we know in helping others, we will always have a place in the world.

 

But it is a quote, so it stays the way it is.  Either way works.  As Lewis pointed out, the original is putting both to learn and to use with being willing.     

link answered Dec 10 '13 at 07:45 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

That's why I didn't like the comma after abilities. I would rather see 'and'.If we recognize our abilities and are willing to learn...

Lewis NeidhardtDec 10 '13 at 19:10

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